Clique Monthly Challenge – Water.

I’ve entered into the Clique photographic challenge run by The Age newspaper to get me out of my comfort zone… and it’s been great so far.  I’ve put so much thought into it already, it can only improve my photography.

The first monthly challenge was water.

My original idea was to capture a person that had 2 buckets of water thrown at them… and freeze the action.  I wanted it to be fun, maybe have the person jumping and screaming, etc.  The spot where I envisaged taking the photo (a steep hill with a park and the cityscape in the background) was completely dried out and brown… so I thought maybe my backyard.

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I really liked the swirl of the water, especially in the first shot… but the shadows were a problem.  Technically it was quite hard… I was using a superquick shutter speed (1/2000) to freeze the water, but flashes and studio lights don’t operate that fast.  I was using flashes in the above shots, but they become really weak at that speed and don’t really do much.

I thought maybe instead of water, I could do the threat of rain, but I just couldn’t get the below image exactly like I imagined it in my head…


Next, I thought I’d go back to water in motion, but with plants and fountains…

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I really liked these shots, particularly the last one and how the water looks like a fish with an open mouth…but the competition is more about photojournalistic images, and I felt I needed either a human element or for the image to tell a story… so back to the backyard…. this time on a less sunny day and more water (poor girls).

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After the shoot, I really struggled with the overall look of the image… I really needed a better, more interesting background and story, but I had run out of time.  The shot I submitted was:


The Clique challenge is good because they give you feedback if you request it, which I really like.  Here is the feedback on the above image, it looks like I was close, but I really do need to put more thought into the overall image and not get distracted by the technical aspects.



The Clique feedback is conducted in the following format.

The key elements are scored from 1 to 20.

1 -5: You really need to focus on that element of your photo

6-10 : You have done a sufficient job on that particular element of your photo

11-15: You have done a good job on that particular element of your photo

16 -20: Your have done a very good job on that particular element of your photo.


1.       Followed the brief :…………………………….             18/20

2.       Composition and framing:……………………..            17/20

3.       Lighting and Exposure:……………………….             18/20

4.       The photo has a focus:……………………….             18/20

5.       The photo engages with the viewer:………….            18/20

Comment:Nice job Adam. You probably wouldn’t be popular but if you cropped out the girl at the hand on the right at the green bucket you get a much stronger image. Play with the crop to increase the action


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